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City Beat: Police, Fire pension posts 2010 gains

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Springfield’s Police and Fire Pension Fund grew by $33.7 million in 2010, aided by a settlement deposit and a market upswing, according to an annual report presented by Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky during City Council’s Feb. 7 meeting.

Rushefsky said the three-quarter cent sales tax passed by voters in November 2009 that went into effect last year, along with changes to the pension board and funds from the city’s $7.45 million settlement with AT&T, all positively impacted the fund that supports the city’s police and fire personnel.

“We’re still not where we need to be at … but we’re seeing a positive move upward,” Rushefsky said.

According to the report, which is available on the city’s Web site, www.springfieldmo.gov, the funding ratio increased for the first time in several years from 47 percent in 2009 to 49 percent at year’s end.

Rushefsky said the fund grew by $8 million in December alone, bringing its net assets to $166 million as of Jan. 1. The fund began 2010 at $132.32 million.

The fund reached a low of $89.4 million in February, but with the infusion of the settlement money, it grew by $33 million later that month.

“That influx of money helped us take full advantage of the upswing in the market,” Rushefsky said.

Sales tax and rezoning
City Manager Greg Burris reported that the city’s 1 cent sales tax check from the Missouri Department of Revenue increased by more than 18 percent for February compared to the same month last year. Revenue collected totaled $2.94 million compared to $2.48 million in February 2010.

Year-to-date sales tax revenue for fiscal 2011 is 3.43 percent above fiscal 2010.

Council considered rezoning 4.7 acres at 2420 W. Grand St. to low-density multifamily residential from general manufacturing, and members are expected to vote on the proposal Feb. 14. The change would allow for construction of a senior-living facility on the south side of Grand Street, west of Kansas Expressway.

Burrell Behavioral Health filed the rezoning request for its plans to develop 82 units in two buildings for low-income seniors. Burrell Inc. currently is building a $1.4 million Housing and Urban Development-financed apartment complex nearby at 2550 W. Catalpa St. for persons with physical and mental disabilities.

“A year ago this area was covered in sludge and junk cars, and it has already undergone a change,” City Planner Mike McPherson said of the land on Grand.

Both the Planning and Zoning Commission and city staff recommend approval. No members of the public spoke on the bill.[[In-content Ad]]

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